“Immeasurable suffering”: UN denounces Taliban ban on women attending universities and working for aid organizations

Important points
  • The UN Security Council has denounced a Taliban ban on women attending universities or working for humanitarian aid groups.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the restrictions were “unjustified violations of human rights and must be lifted”.
  • Since March, the Taliban have also banned girls from attending secondary school.
The United Nations Security Council has called for and denounced the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan about women attending universities or working for humanitarian aid groups.
In a consensus-agreed statement, the 15-member council said about women and girls attending high schools and universities in Afghanistan “represents a growing erosion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday the restrictions were “unjustified human rights violations and must be lifted”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Source: AAP

“Actions to marginalize and silence women and girls continue to cause immense suffering and a major setback to the potential of the Afghan people,” he tweeted.

The university ban for women was announced when the Security Council discussed Afghanistan in New York last week.
Girls have been barred from high school since March.
The council said a ban on women humanitarian workers announced on Saturday “would have a significant and immediate impact on humanitarian operations,” including those of the United Nations.

“These restrictions are contrary to the Taliban’s commitments to the Afghan people and the expectations of the international community,” the Security Council said, expressing its full support for the UN political mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA.

Four major global aid groups whose humanitarian efforts have reached millions of Afghans said Sunday they were suspending operations because they could not run their programs without female staff.
UN Secretary General Martin Griffiths told the Security Council last week that 97 percent of Afghans live in poverty, two-thirds of the population needs help to survive, 20 million people are suffering from acute hunger and 1.1 million teenage girls have been excluded from school.
The Taliban, who seized power in August last year, had largely banned girls’ education two decades ago when they were last in power, but said their policies have changed.

The Taliban-led government was not recognized internationally.

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